Hélio Castroneves has won – but won’t start from – pole position for Sunday’s Iowa Corn 250 race at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway, after the Brazilian led a Team Penske 1-2 in the final qualifying heat race on Saturday.
The prime starting position for Sunday’s 250-lap race will instead be occupied by his teammate Will Power, while Castroneves will start ten places further back after his team was forced to make an unscheduled Chevrolet engine change.
Castroneves was quickest in preliminary qualifying, and in the event’s complicated series of 50-lap heat races to determine the grid order, he led from start to finish, while Power charged through the field, closing to within two-tenths of a second of the lead before backing off in the closing laps.
Power will share the front row of the grid with Andretti Autosport racer James Hinchcliffe, while the Canadian’s teammate Marco Andretti will occupy the second row of the grid ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
The earlier heat races – used to determine the grid orders for positions 10 to 24 – produced mixed levels of action and interest, with the top-two of those heats competing in the final race.
The first, won by Dixon with Sato in close pursuit, was an utterly processional affair. The second saw a better dice between Ed Carpenter and Graham Rahal, which was brought to a premature end when James Jakes crashed his car with a few laps to go.
It remains to be seen how successful these qualifying heat races will ultimately prove as the IndyCar Series looks to investigate ways to make its championship events more interesting for fans, but their failure to broadcast these events on TV certainly won’t have helped…
On top of Castroneves’ penalty, both Sato and Ana Beatriz will take ten-place grid drops for respective engine changes.
2013 IndyCar Series Milwaukee IndyFest Final Qualifying Results:
|Grid||Driver||Entry / Team|
|1.||Will Power||Team Penske||Heat Race 3|
|2.||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||Heat Race 3|
|3.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Heat Race 3|
|4.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Heat Race 3|
|5.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Heat Race 3|
|6.||Tony Kanaan||KV Racing Technology||Heat Race 3|
|7.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Heat Race 3|
|8.||Oriol Servia||Panther Racing||Heat Race 3|
|9.||Simon Pagenaud||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Racing||Heat Race 2|
|10.||Alex Tagliani||Barracuda Racing||Heat Race 1|
|11.||Hélio Castroneves*||Team Penske||Heat Race 3|
|12.||Justin Wilson||Dale Coyne Racing||Heat Race 2|
|13.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Heat Race 1|
|14.||Tristan Vautier||Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Racing||Heat Race 2|
|15.||Josef Newgarden||Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing||Heat Race 1|
|16.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||Heat Race 2|
|17.||Takuma Sato*||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Heat Race 3|
|18.||E.J. Viso||Team Venezuela / Andretti Autosport||Heat Race 2|
|19.||Sebastián Saavedra||Dragon Racing||Heat Race 1|
|20.||James Jakes||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Heat Race 2|
|21.||Sébastien Bourdais||Dragon Racing||Heat Race 1|
|22.||Simona de Silvestro||KV Racing Technology||Heat Race 2|
|23.||Dario Franchitti||Chip Ganassi Racing||Heat Race 1|
|24.||Ana Beatriz*||Dale Coyne Racing||Heat Race 1|
* Denotes ten-place grid penalty for unscheduled engine change